Turkey, Politics, Europe

Turkey slams Greece for hosting Libya's Haftar

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Athens' efforts to derail push for peace in Libya are 'in vain'

Davut Demircan   | 18.01.2020
Turkey slams Greece for hosting Libya's Haftar

ANKARA

Inviting Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar to Greece and stressing the Greek agenda in the Mediterranean are both “futile efforts” to derail the push for peace in Libya, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Saturday.

“The Greek-Greek Cypriot duo extorts the rights of neighboring countries with their maximalist claims in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said a statement by Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“Trying to legitimize these claims by taking advantage of the EU harms peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Cavusoglu also decried Athens’ handling of issues with Libya

The two pacts Turkey “signed with the legitimate government in Libya have alarmed Greece. Instead of dialogue, they severed diplomatic relations with the legitimate government. Unfortunately, they act with the understanding that ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’,” he wrote.

“Actually behind this, there are efforts to impose maritime jurisdiction claims on Libya. In the past years, they have set up oil and gas license areas to the south of Crete in a way that usurps the rights and interests of Libya. When faced with this situation, the legitimate government of Libya signed a memorandum of understanding with us to protect their rights,” he explained.

Greece’s futile efforts are “in vain,” he added.

Athens and Berlin

Haftar visited Greece and met with top Greek officials on Friday, ahead of Sunday’s conference on Libya in Berlin.

Haftar also had a one-to-one meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who said afterwards that Haftar agreed the treaties signed between Turkey and Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) need to be cancelled.

On Nov. 27, Ankara and the GNA signed two separate pacts, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The maritime pact asserted Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.

Greek Premier Mitsotakis said late Thursday that they will veto "any political solution" to the conflict in Libya on the EU Council level if the Turkish-Libyan treaties are not canceled.

Mitsotakis also expressed his discomfort over not being invited to the Berlin conference on Libya this Sunday.

The conference was convened by Germany in an attempt to reach a political solution to the conflict.

The Greek government had expressed its desire to participate in the conference, but was not included.

The German government said in addition to Haftar and Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-recognized government in Libya, those invited to the conference include representatives from Turkey, Russia, China, France, Italy, the U.S., Britain, the UAE, Republic of Congo, the UN, the EU, African Union, Arab League, Algeria, and Egypt.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

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